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  • 1.
    Frostenson, Magnus
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Moving beyond the external face of accountabilit: Constructing accountability for sustainability from within2023In: Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, ISSN 2040-8021, E-ISSN 2040-803X, Vol. 14, no 7, p. 124-151Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: Motivated to know more about the internal means through which accountability for sustainability takes shape within organisations (in what ways and by whom), this paper aims to explore how accountability for sustainability is constructed within an organisation during a process of establishing a control system for sustainability.

    Design/methodology/approach: This paper adopts a qualitative case study approach of a decentralised industrial group, operating mainly in Scandinavia, between 2017 and 2020. Both primary and secondary data are used (e.g. document analyses, semi-structured interviews, informal conversations and site visits) to inform the findings and analysis.

    Findings: The findings reveal a multi-faceted path towards accountability for sustainability that involves several concerns and priorities at organisational and individual levels, resulting in a separate sustainability control systems within each subsidiary company. Although hierarchical structures for accountability exist, socialising accountability activities are needed to (further) mobilise sustainable accounts.

    Practical implications: Successful sustainable control systems require employees making sense of formalised accountability instruments (e.g. policies and procedures) to establish their roles and responsibilities in organisations.

    Social implications: This paper proposes socialisation processes as important for driving forward sustainability solutions.

    Originality/value: This study elaborates on the internal accountability dynamic for the construction of sustainable accounts. Its novelty is built upon the interaction of hierarchical and socialising accountability forms as necessary for establishing a control system for sustainability. It furthermore illustrates the relationship between the external and internal pathways of accountability.

  • 2.
    Frostenson, Magnus
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Moving beyond the external face of accountability: Constructing accountability for sustainability from withinManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
  • 3.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    A systematic analysis of environmental management systems in SMEs: Possible research directions from a management accounting and control stance2020In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 244, article id 118802Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper systematically reviews the drivers, implementation processes and performance outcomes of environmental management systems (EMS) in small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from a management accounting and control (MAC) stance. It finds that there are various contextual, control and performance themes which require research attention. Regarding context, there is the need to: a) explore the relationship between firm size and the development of sustainability tools; b) assess the impact of context for better environmental performance and c) on adoption motivations; and d) explore how EMS affect corporate and individual accountability. Regarding control, there is the need to: a) theoretically explore the control typologies for SMEs; b) better understand the type (i.e. formal or informal) and nature (i.e. tight or flexible) of this control; and c) develop understandings of socio-ideological controls for improved sustainability. Finally, regarding performance, there is the need to: a) understand how environmental performance is defined and the interaction between its dimensions; and b) explore the relationship between EMS and environmental performance in SMEs. The paper serves as a first step to understanding MAC in SMEs, highlighting contemporary issues that are relevant for academic and professional sustainability practice.

  • 4.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Accounting for the environment: a gap between theory and academic practice?2017Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper extends calls for the exploration of environmental management control systems (EMCS) as integrated systemic approaches by addressing how environmental controls are presented in the extant management accounting literature via a systematic mapping process. It assesses if EMCS are presented as systemic, holistic structures at the intra-organisational level from a scholarly viewpoint, or if the components remain disassociated as discrete systematic processes and procedures. Via a systematic literature review based on the levels of integration and the instruments and processes of control from 2007 to 2016, existing frameworks, such as Malmi and Brown’s (2008), are suggested as non-transferrable to the environmental accounting realm as per academic practice, and that a new conceptual map could prove more utile. The study finds that the systemic perspective of EMCS is empirically wanting in favour of reductionist approaches via discrete systematic environmental management accounting (EMA) tools which are often exploratory and lack overt theoretical underpinnings. The paper concludes that the increased use of theoretical perspectives could improve the functionality of EMCS, and that academics wishing to explore elements of environmental control should do so systemically, concurrently considering institutional, contextual, strategic, social and numerical controls under the variable of time, inherent to the evolutionary nature of the sustainability discourse and beyond the intra-firm level. All-embracing, it posits that traditional reductionist approaches are partial when accounting for the environment and there is a gap between theoretical operationalisation and academic practice.

  • 5.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Boundary spanning actors as coercive-enabling (social) controls in environmental management control systems2017Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This conceptual paper extends Adler and Borys’ (1996) bureaucratic perspective on enabling and coercive control to the operational levels of social control within environmental management control systems (EMCS) by using structuration theory as a framework. Responding to calls for more studies on informal controls, it asks: a) What can be categorised as enabling–coercive control for boundary-spanners as social agents? b) How do EMCS as social structures enable or constrain boundary-spanners in the implementation and diffusion of environmental accounting within both intra and inter-organisational environments? c) How do boundary-spanners as agents enable or constrain the long-term development, integration and diffusion of environmental sustainability via EMCS within both intra and inter-organisational environments? Taken together, it expounds theorising within environmental accounting research by offering propositions that structuration can be instrumental for not only performance-related outcomes, but too decision-making and control, as well as intangible measures such as increased legitimacy through transparency and coordination. Moreover, it contributes to understandings of EMCS where elements of social control via boundary-spanning actors are considered vital as the cohesion mechanism for systemic responses over time and space, moving beyond systematic conceptualisations based on one or two elements of control. Ultimately, static perceptions assumed by conventional (environmental) management accounting are broadened by concluding that social controls dynamically work in concert to combine all other aspects of the EMCS package whilst simultaneously being framed by it; thus operationally and normatively refining the environmental plight for truly sustainable organisations.

  • 6.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Enabling social control in environmental management accounting2017Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 7.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Environmental management decisions in CSR-based accounting research2018In: Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, ISSN 1535-3958, E-ISSN 1535-3966Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This commentary presents conceptualisations of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the realm of environmental accounting. By asking what the main theoretical perspectives are within CSR-based environmental accounting research, and how have these been used, it finds that there have been three clear theoretical waves. These are based on legitimacy, stakeholder and institutional theories, which evidently build upon one another as CSR1 (responsibility), CSR2 (responsiveness) and CSR3 (proactiveness) respectively. Nevertheless, such perspectives are weak as they remain at the strategic level and do not confront the operational levels of management accounting and control. Thus, structuration theory is proposed as the fourth wave of CSR-based research by emphasising that CSR rests neither with the organisations as agents, nor the institutions as social structures, but is the product of both. This informs managers by illustrating that environmental accounting decisions are shaped from not only the external environment, but also from within.

  • 8.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Environmental performance and SMEs via the implementation of ISO 140012018Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 9.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Facilitating sustainability control in SMEs through the implementation of an environmental management system2021In: Journal of Management Control, ISSN 2191-4761, E-ISSN 2191-477X, Vol. 32, no 4, p. 559-605Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper explores the characteristic type and use of sustainability control in small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) through the implementation of an environ-mental management system, formally certified to ISO 14001. Through a qualita-tive study of 18 SMEs and seven auditors operating in Northern Europe, the paper draws on the theoretical framework of sustainability control as an analytical tool to explore the interplay between the formal design of control instruments and the operational use of these in practice for the studied SMEs. The study finds that both the formalised control instrument design and operational use of these controls by employees are characteristically formal and procedure based for ISO 14001 certifi-cation. Nevertheless, environmental management in daily tasks is also achieved by engaging non-managerial employees through their passionate interests and intrinsic motivations. In extension to previous sustainability control research, the findings emphasise that local level operator knowledge is not only the product of formalised control system design, and that external factors are also important for guiding employee behaviour in situ. This proposes that daily working tasks are achieved through a combination of organisational and extra-organisational individual values and beliefs about sustainability. Particularly, engaging non-managerial employees in SMEs through a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic rewards appears valuable for sustainable futures. Therefore, in addition to compliance-driven controls, SME owner-managers should ensure supportive structures where employees are given the autonomy to be creative and innovative.

    Download full text (pdf)
    Facilitating sustainability control in SMEs through the implementation of an environmental management system
  • 10.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Management control for sustainability in ISO 14001-certified SMEs2019Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 11.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Opening up the black-box: Environmental management control systems in SMEs with ISO 140012018Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 12.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Organisational structures and narratives as accountability mechanisms for sustainability management control2019Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 13.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Temporal strategic knowledge-sharing nets as instances of sustainability governance in practice2019In: Social and Environmental Accountability Journal, ISSN 0969-160X, E-ISSN 2156-2245, Vol. 39, no 1, p. 23-43Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 14.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    The construction of environmental performance in ISO 14001-certified SMEs2020In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 263, article id 121559Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper explores the relationship between the implementation of an environmental management system (EMS) and environmental performance (EP) from a management accounting and control (MAC) stance. Particularly, it asks: How is environmental performance constructed in firm's using ISO 14001? And, b), what is the relationship between ISO 14001 and environmental performance? Grounded in the relative novelty of a qualitative cross-case approach to construct EP from the perspectives of the SMEs as an understudied empirical context in MAC research, it finds that EP is a fluid, multidimensional concept that embraces not only environmental, but also social, operational and financial dimensions. It also regards the interrelation of processes and outcomes, as well as field and firm, within temporal and spatial horizons. The findings of this research contribute to the MAC literature by proposing that ISO 14001 results in the formalisation of performance measures and outcomes in SMEs. Nevertheless, it presents EP as a multidimensional construct. Therefore, there are research limitations in trying to capture it solely as an output at the intra-organisational level in MAC studies through quantitative items. Consequently, future theorisations of the environmental management control system require a recognition of the intra-organisational and extra-organisational dimensions that contribute to the construction of EP for SMEs. For SMEs, this study highlights the value of EMS in improving both substantive and symbolic performance.

  • 15.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    The Limits of Control? The Role of Sustainability Control for Constructing Accountability within Organisations2022Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Sustainability control is grounded in pragmatic research traditions which imply that the design of formalised sustainability control systems (de-signed by managers) is enough to ensure strategic plans are met in re-sponse to external accountability demands. Through this, the individualis-ing aspects of control in a hierarchical accountability sense are empha-sised, and the main accountability relationship becomes between the supe-rior and subordinate. Less, however, is known about the other socialising processes and accountability relationships within organisations that in-creasingly call employees to account for sustainability.

    To develop understandings of sustainability control and its relationship to accountability, this thesis asks: What is the role of sustainability control in constructing accountability? This thesis finds that the socialising ac-countability form is important for developing (current) understandings of sustainability control(ling) as a management practice. It elaborates on how controlling for sustainability is not only achieved through formalised con-trols designed by (top) management, but also through other accountability relationships, in the less formal spaces of the organisation and beyond. Here, compliance is complemented with elements of employee activism and incremental changes to their daily working behaviours.

    Managers should recognise the importance of socialisation processes and conversations in informal settings for making employees accountable and changing (un)sustainable behaviours in the workplace beyond formalised control system designs. The findings should encourage us all to think about how we (should) reconcile managerial systems with the broader sociological and ecological good inherent to sustainability as an inter-generational discourse and the responsibility of all.

    List of papers
    1. Theorising and conceptualising the sustainability control system for effective sustainability management
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>Theorising and conceptualising the sustainability control system for effective sustainability management
    2019 (English)In: Journal of Management Control, ISSN 2191-4761, E-ISSN 2191-477X, Vol. 30, no 1, p. 25-64Article in journal (Refereed) Published
    Abstract [en]

    This conceptual paper explores the iterative relationship between system design and use for the development process of sustainability control systems (SCS). Buildingupon Adler and Borys’ seminal framework (Adm Sci Q 41(4):61–89, 1996) as ananalytical tool, it suggests that SCS are characteristically distinct, and more researchinto the dual role of control (i.e. control over based on system design and controlin situ based on system use by the individual user) is necessary for future theorisations of the SCS. It poses that for sustainable futures that extend beyond organisational boundaries, more attention is required on individual general employees inmanagement accounting and control frameworks as instrumental for performanceoutcomes. To this end, individual values, borne from the extra-organisational context,are considered important alongside organisational ones for the developmentof SCS. Thus, the paper bridges perspectives on system characteristics, the individualand performance outcomes by offering a theoretical framework for futureresearch. It also extends studies on accounting as a social practice by emphasising the extra-organisational factors that influence internal accounting systems. Finally,it expounds upon the notion of social control as an individual-level phenomenon,necessary for sustainability. This expanded theoretical perspective also has implicationsfor practice by encouraging managers to think strategically about how systems are received from the perspective of the user. This can encourage more commitment to the sustainability cause from the outset, as well as over spatial and temporal boundaries.

    Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
    Springer, 2019
    Keywords
    Boundary spanners, Enabling formalisation, Management accounting and control, Social control, Sustainability control systems, Sustainability
    National Category
    Business Administration
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-73103 (URN)10.1007/s00187-019-00277-w (DOI)000482313500003 ()2-s2.0-85071608875 (Scopus ID)
    Funder
    The Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Foundation, P2015-0031:1
    Available from: 2019-03-12 Created: 2019-03-12 Last updated: 2023-12-08Bibliographically approved
    2. Facilitating sustainability control in SMEs through the implementation of an environmental management system
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>Facilitating sustainability control in SMEs through the implementation of an environmental management system
    2021 (English)In: Journal of Management Control, ISSN 2191-4761, E-ISSN 2191-477X, Vol. 32, no 4, p. 559-605Article in journal (Refereed) Published
    Abstract [en]

    This paper explores the characteristic type and use of sustainability control in small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) through the implementation of an environ-mental management system, formally certified to ISO 14001. Through a qualita-tive study of 18 SMEs and seven auditors operating in Northern Europe, the paper draws on the theoretical framework of sustainability control as an analytical tool to explore the interplay between the formal design of control instruments and the operational use of these in practice for the studied SMEs. The study finds that both the formalised control instrument design and operational use of these controls by employees are characteristically formal and procedure based for ISO 14001 certifi-cation. Nevertheless, environmental management in daily tasks is also achieved by engaging non-managerial employees through their passionate interests and intrinsic motivations. In extension to previous sustainability control research, the findings emphasise that local level operator knowledge is not only the product of formalised control system design, and that external factors are also important for guiding employee behaviour in situ. This proposes that daily working tasks are achieved through a combination of organisational and extra-organisational individual values and beliefs about sustainability. Particularly, engaging non-managerial employees in SMEs through a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic rewards appears valuable for sustainable futures. Therefore, in addition to compliance-driven controls, SME owner-managers should ensure supportive structures where employees are given the autonomy to be creative and innovative.

    Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
    Springer, 2021
    Keywords
    Control in situ, Environmental engagement, Environmental management system, ISO 14001, SMEs, Sustainability control
    National Category
    Business Administration
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-94860 (URN)10.1007/s00187-021-00329-0 (DOI)000705746500001 ()2-s2.0-85116734481 (Scopus ID)
    Funder
    The Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Foundation, P2015-0031:1
    Note

    Funding agency:

    Örebro University

    Available from: 2021-10-09 Created: 2021-10-09 Last updated: 2023-12-08Bibliographically approved
    3. The means to substantive performance improvements – environmental management control systems in ISO 14001– certified SMEs
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>The means to substantive performance improvements – environmental management control systems in ISO 14001– certified SMEs
    2022 (English)In: Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, ISSN 2040-8021, E-ISSN 2040-803X, Vol. 13, no 5, p. 1082-1108Article in journal (Refereed) Published
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: This study aims to address how the ISO 14001 standardisation and certification process improves substantive performance in small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through the development of an environmental management control system (EMCS).

    Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative cross-case interview design with those responsible for the implementation of an environmental management system (certified to ISO 14001) in SMEs is adopted to inductively “theorise” the EMCS.

    Findings: The design and monitoring of environmental controls are often beyond the scope of the SMEs’ top management team and include extra-organisational dimensions such as the external audit and institutional requirements. This suggests more complex control pathways for SMEs to produce EMCS that primarily function as packages and are broader than the analytical level of the firm. Here, controlling for environmental performance exists at strategic and operational levels, as well as beyond the SMEs’ boundaries.

    Practical implications: Various internal controls are put forward for SME owner-managers to meet environmental targets (e.g. gamification and interpersonal communication strategies). This builds upon a broader accountability perspective wherein formalised hierarchical control is only one route for ensuring sustainable action within the ISO 14001-certified SMEs.

    Social implications: This study contributes to a more sustainable society through developing an understanding of how environmental sustainability is substantively managed by SMEs to improve performance for current and future generations.

    Originality/value: This paper, to the best of the author’s knowledge, is one of the first to establish how SMEs control for environmental sustainability from empirically derived evidence. In doing so, it provides an example of the EMCS for the SME context.

    Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
    Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2022
    Keywords
    Environmental management control system, Environmental management system, Environmental performance, ISO 14001, SMEs, Sustainability control
    National Category
    Business Administration
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-100698 (URN)10.1108/sampj-11-2021-0456 (DOI)000840872200001 ()2-s2.0-85135987062 (Scopus ID)
    Available from: 2022-08-17 Created: 2022-08-17 Last updated: 2022-11-15Bibliographically approved
    4. Moving beyond the external face of accountability: Constructing accountability for sustainability from within
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>Moving beyond the external face of accountability: Constructing accountability for sustainability from within
    (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    National Category
    Business Administration
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-102234 (URN)
    Available from: 2022-11-15 Created: 2022-11-15 Last updated: 2022-11-15Bibliographically approved
    5. Taking shape within the organisational and the personal: sustainability accountability within a Swedish public sector organisation
    Open this publication in new window or tab >>Taking shape within the organisational and the personal: sustainability accountability within a Swedish public sector organisation
    (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    National Category
    Business Administration
    Identifiers
    urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-102235 (URN)
    Available from: 2022-11-15 Created: 2022-11-15 Last updated: 2022-11-15Bibliographically approved
    Download full text (pdf)
    The Limits of Control? The Role of Sustainability Control for Constructing Accountability within Organisations
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  • 16.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    The means to substantive performance improvements – environmental management control systems in ISO 14001– certified SMEs2022In: Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, ISSN 2040-8021, E-ISSN 2040-803X, Vol. 13, no 5, p. 1082-1108Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: This study aims to address how the ISO 14001 standardisation and certification process improves substantive performance in small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through the development of an environmental management control system (EMCS).

    Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative cross-case interview design with those responsible for the implementation of an environmental management system (certified to ISO 14001) in SMEs is adopted to inductively “theorise” the EMCS.

    Findings: The design and monitoring of environmental controls are often beyond the scope of the SMEs’ top management team and include extra-organisational dimensions such as the external audit and institutional requirements. This suggests more complex control pathways for SMEs to produce EMCS that primarily function as packages and are broader than the analytical level of the firm. Here, controlling for environmental performance exists at strategic and operational levels, as well as beyond the SMEs’ boundaries.

    Practical implications: Various internal controls are put forward for SME owner-managers to meet environmental targets (e.g. gamification and interpersonal communication strategies). This builds upon a broader accountability perspective wherein formalised hierarchical control is only one route for ensuring sustainable action within the ISO 14001-certified SMEs.

    Social implications: This study contributes to a more sustainable society through developing an understanding of how environmental sustainability is substantively managed by SMEs to improve performance for current and future generations.

    Originality/value: This paper, to the best of the author’s knowledge, is one of the first to establish how SMEs control for environmental sustainability from empirically derived evidence. In doing so, it provides an example of the EMCS for the SME context.

  • 17.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    The nature of control in the development process of ISO 14001-certified SMEs’ sustainable control systems2018Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 18.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Theorising & modelling social controls in environmental management accounting2018In: Social and Environmental Accountability Journal, ISSN 0969-160X, E-ISSN 2156-2245, Vol. 38, no 1, p. 30-48Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This systematic review of empirical environmental management accounting literature contributes by asking how social controls – as components of environmental management control systems (EMCS) – have been presented, developing understandings of informal elements of control as vital for extending the field and ultimately the sustainability plight. By using Luft and Shields’ (2003) framework for theory-consistent empirical research as an analytical mapping tool, it establishes the thematic properties of social control as: 1) knowledge about environmental issues; 2) commitment to environmental issues; 3) communication via interaction, dialogue and transparency of environmental issues; and 4) a corporate culture that fosters education, training and awareness of environmental issues; determined under the condition of available resources. Taken together, these properties are considered instrumental for systemic EMCS-packages, allowing the development of future studies by defining and refining the theoretical properties of social control, contributing to the environmental management accounting and control literature. Moreover, the properties are also considered useful for managers to positively affect sustainability performance. Nevertheless, it remains unclear whether social control should be treated as part of the EMCS or external to it.

  • 19.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business. Department of Business Administration.
    Theorising and conceptualising the sustainability control system for effective sustainability management2019In: Journal of Management Control, ISSN 2191-4761, E-ISSN 2191-477X, Vol. 30, no 1, p. 25-64Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This conceptual paper explores the iterative relationship between system design and use for the development process of sustainability control systems (SCS). Buildingupon Adler and Borys’ seminal framework (Adm Sci Q 41(4):61–89, 1996) as ananalytical tool, it suggests that SCS are characteristically distinct, and more researchinto the dual role of control (i.e. control over based on system design and controlin situ based on system use by the individual user) is necessary for future theorisations of the SCS. It poses that for sustainable futures that extend beyond organisational boundaries, more attention is required on individual general employees inmanagement accounting and control frameworks as instrumental for performanceoutcomes. To this end, individual values, borne from the extra-organisational context,are considered important alongside organisational ones for the developmentof SCS. Thus, the paper bridges perspectives on system characteristics, the individualand performance outcomes by offering a theoretical framework for futureresearch. It also extends studies on accounting as a social practice by emphasising the extra-organisational factors that influence internal accounting systems. Finally,it expounds upon the notion of social control as an individual-level phenomenon,necessary for sustainability. This expanded theoretical perspective also has implicationsfor practice by encouraging managers to think strategically about how systems are received from the perspective of the user. This can encourage more commitment to the sustainability cause from the outset, as well as over spatial and temporal boundaries.

    Download full text (pdf)
    Theorising and conceptualising the sustainability control system for effective sustainability management
  • 20.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    To be controlled, or not to be controlled?: The case of integrating environmental sustainability within an international logistics company2018Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Focusing on the development process of an environmental management control system (EMCS) in a large Scandinavian logistics company, this study sets out to explore the shifting relationship between control over, based on system design, and control in situ, based on the individual employee’s experience, experimentation, professionalism, transparency and sustainability competence. Using the theoretical framework of enabling–coercive bureaucracy [Adler, P. S. and Borys, B. 1996. Two types of bureaucracy: enabling and coercive. Administrative Science Quarterly, 41(4), 61-89], it asks: In which ways are employees constructed as controlling subjects or objects of control in an environmental management control system context? By placing more emphasis on the role of individual actors beyond managerial tiers, it responds to both empirical and theoretical gaps as a baseline to move forward from. This is deemed necessary in order to bridge the distinction between system design and use for environmentally sustainable futures that extend beyond organisational and generational borders.

  • 21.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Transient knowledge nets as instances of multilevel governance for sustainability2017Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper expands on the novelty of using transient knowledge nets as sustainability governance mechanisms under the framing of institutional theory based on regulative, cultural-cognitive and normative dimensions. Through a case study of one transient net, existing at the public–private interface within Sweden, it explores: a) what net’s functions are; b) how the net is received and perceived by its multisector actors; and, c) the potential of such nets for diffusing sustainable practices throughout the supply chain upon termination. The guiding question is: How do multisector organisations respond to society and state with regard to the strategic implementation and diffusion of management accounting processes from multi-level environmental objectives? In this sense, it bridges the gap between field and organisational perspectives in the coordination of various sustainability objectives and offers a ‘shooting star’ analogy of this process over time and space. Specifically, it elaborates on the degree that such regulatory – yet concurrently interactive – governance mechanisms have on the long-term implementation of operational sustainable practices through institutionalisation via 1) the mobilisation of allies, as well as alliance cultivation and cooperative partnerships/networks; 2) the normalisation of beliefs regarding the Swedish environmental objectives; and, 3) the net’s ‘rules’ regarding goal-implementation as a corporate competitive advantage. It concludes that discussions in these nets are instrumental stimuli to normalise sustainability knowledge which can be seen as an intangible social control mechanism for effective environmental management accounting and control within both intra and inter-organisational environments.

  • 22.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Beusch, Peter
    University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Motivating sustainable behaviour in the workplace – when altruism requires control2023Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 23.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Hallberg, Peter
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    ISO 14001 adoption and environmental performance in small to medium sized enterprises2020In: Journal of Environmental Management, ISSN 0301-4797, E-ISSN 1095-8630, Vol. 266, article id 110592Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    As the biggest sector of the global economy, an understanding of environmental management in small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) is necessary for improved sustainability. This paper explores the role of contextual factors for ISO 14001 adoption and improved environmental performance in SMEs. It finds that socio-political factors (e.g. legislation, regulation and legitimation) guide the initial adoption decision. Nevertheless, beyond this, substantive performance improvements (i.e. improved internal processes and procedures) are received, based on symbolic (i.e. legitimacy-based) reasoning. Particularly, operational improvements subsequently lead to improved financial and environmental outcomes, as well as external social performance evaluations. This not only suggests that environmental performance is a multidimensional concept that extends beyond the firm, but also that ISO 14001 adoption in SMEs is based on the interrelation of symbolic and substantive performance effects over time and space that cannot be separated analytically in research practice. The findings are presented as particularly useful for SMEs in terms of highlighting the performance benefits of ISO 14001 adoption.

  • 24.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Lagin, Madelen
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Öberg, Christina
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Immaterial resource transfer beyond temporal strategic nets2020Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 25.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Lindh, Cecilia
    School of Business, Society and Engineering, Mälardalen University, Västerås, Sweden.
    Online E-Communication Channels: The Impact of CSR and Reviews on Purchase Intent2021In: Advances in Digital Marketing and eCommerce: Second International Conference, 2021 / [ed] Francisco J. Martínez-López; David López López, Springer, 2021, p. 161-183Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The ever-growing online shopping environment provides an opportunity for companies of all sizes to reach expanding customer bases across borders. However, research on the factors influencing online purchase intent are limited, and even more from an international point of view given that geographical marketplace barriers are less evident online. This paper explores the various antecedents of online purchase intent in terms of e-communication strategies (e.g. corporate social responsibility [CSR], peer reviews and expert opinion) for international consumers. To approach this as a global phenomenon, an international dataset of 804 international online consumers is analysed. The study finds complexity in the actors and pathways that inform purchase intent in the online retail context. Particularly, it finds that a company’s CSR has no direct effect on purchase intent but is mediated by information received from online reviews by peers and experts as intermediary e-communications channels. This suggests that online retailers must consider other communication strategies, beyond the traditional buyer-seller dyad, to boost CSR perceptions and purchase intent. The study offers a first step to theorising the online retail context as an international phenomenon where traditional marketing concepts currently remain under-problematised.

  • 26.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business. Department of Business Administration.
    Lindh, Cecilia
    School of Business, Society and Engineering, Mälardalen University, Västerås, Sweden .
    Sustainably sustaining (online) fashion consumption: Using influencers to promote sustainable (un)planned behaviour in Europe's millennials2022In: Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, ISSN 0969-6989, E-ISSN 1873-1384, Vol. 64, article id 102775Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study explores if, how and through what channels millennials' sustainability values translate into action when it comes to fashion garments. By testing a research model on 448 European millennials, it contrasts extant theories of planned behaviour, finding that purchase intent is often guided by unintentional, non-linear processes wherein trust in intermediaries such as celebrity influencers, rather than the fashion retailers’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) approach condition behaviour. For fashion retailers, it suggests the strategic use of influencers to (un)consciously market sustainable garments. Its novelty is built on sustainably sustaining fashion consumption in a post-pandemic world, characterised by increased online sales.

  • 27.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Lindh, Cecilia
    School of Business, Society and Engineering, Mälardalen University, Mälardalens högskola, Västerås, Sweden.
    The sustainability-age dilemma: A theory of (un)planned behaviour via influencers2018In: Journal of Consumer Behaviour, ISSN 1472-0817, E-ISSN 1479-1838, Vol. 17, no 1, p. E127-E139Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study investigates the relation between age and sustainability awareness for consumers via the third, mediating variable of influencers to reduce the intention-behaviour purchase gap. It proposes that traditional theories of planned behaviour are limited as they do not account for unconscious and indirect pathways to axiological change. A structural model with the 3 constructs of age, influencers, and sustainability awareness is tested with linear structural relations on a sample of 788 consumers, complemented with focus groups and interviews to generate deeper insight into the model's constructs. The results demonstrate a relationship between age and sustainability awareness, as well as between the importance of influencers for increased sustainability awareness in younger consumers, namely, millennials. This suggests that practitioners should work with influencers perceived as trustworthy to increase sustainability awareness for the millennial subset consumer group. The methodology applies a mixed approach, interpreting both qualitative and quantitative aspects, and contributes to the ethical consumerism literature with new knowledge on age differences connected to sustainability awareness, particularly highlighting on the influence of influencers for the younger generations.

  • 28.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business. School of Business, Society and Engineering, Department, Mälardalen Högskola, Västerås, Sweden.
    Pio Monteiro, Mariana
    Escola Superior de Educação de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal; Católica Porto Business School, Porto, Portugal.
    Ferreira, Inês
    Escola Superior de Educação de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal.
    Westerlund, Johanna
    School of Business, Society and Engineering, Department, Mälardalen Högskola, Västerås, Sweden; Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
    Aalto, Roosa
    Department of Business Management, Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences, Mikkeli, Finland.
    Marttinen, Jenni
    Department of Business Management, Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences, Mikkeli, Finland.
    Language ability and entrepreneurship education: Necessary skills for Europe’s start-ups?2018In: Journal of International Entrepreneurship, ISSN 1570-7385, E-ISSN 1573-7349, Vol. 16, no 3, p. 369-397Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Language ability and entrepreneurial education are seen as essential resources for start-ups operating in intensified landscapes of internationalisation and globalisation. Deemed as the necessary skills for corporate effectiveness vis-à-vis rivals, this paper responds to calls for increased understandings of cultural componentsas vital to entrepreneurship and the product of institutional forces. Thus, it explores: (a) the impact language ability has on start-up expansion; (b) the perceptions of internationalrelations as based on language ability as a tool for cross-cultural communication; and (c) the role of educational context from the entrepreneurs’ perspective. Based oninterviews from European online start-ups across three discrete contexts—Finland,Portugal and Sweden—it concludes that contextual trends regarding language andeducation are founded upon the cultural-cognitive and normative pillars ofinstitutionalisation. Further, by combining actor-context perspectives, it poses thatlanguage ability and education are resources borne from the domestic environment which positively moderate the start-up’s international success. Nevertheless, the notion of learnt entrepreneurship remains contested. Taken together, this study contributes byoffering deeper insight into the role of context on entrepreneurial tendencies by combining resource and institutional perspectives.

  • 29.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Poulsen, Morten
    Sustainability controlling practices in small businesses – Experiences from Scandinavian fish restaurants2023Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 30.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Skoog, Matti
    Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Integrating sustainability - An institutional perspective2023Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 31.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Svärd-Sandin, Elinor
    Mälardalen University, Västerås, Sweden.
    Lindh, Cecilia
    Mälardalen University, Västerås, Sweden.
    The Scandinavian Cooperative Advantage?: A Mixed Method Approach to Highlight the Influence of Contextual Conditions for Environmental CSR2017In: International Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development (IJESD), ISSN 1474-6778, E-ISSN 1478-7466, Vol. 9, no 4, p. 336-358Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Multilateral actor-to-actor (A2A) networks, exhibited and commonplace in Scandinavia, are considered key to effective environmental CSR implementation and organisational success. This research investigates the proposed Scandinavian cooperative advantage within the construction industry in order to better understand: a) if the contextual conditions of a country affect environmental CSR uptake; b) if construction companies exhibit environmental CSR-practices differently in discrete contexts; and c) the role of stakeholder collaborations for explicit (soft-law) environmental CSR uptake and competitive advantage. With Sweden and Scotland as representative examples of two different contexts within and beyond Scandinavia, the results indicate that the contextual conditions of a country affect the perceptions, and likelihood, of environmental CSR uptake from both organisational and customer perspectives. However, it remains unclear as to whether stakeholder collaborations and A2A networks, traditional within Scandinavian societies, actually influence environmental CSR uptake more so than in external contexts.

  • 32.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Yates, David
    Sheffield University, Sheffield, UK.
    Nylander, Sebastian
    PostNord, Sweden.
    Accountability for sustainability within a Swedish Public Sector Organisation2022Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 33.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Yates, David
    Sheffield University, Sheffield, UK.
    Nylander, Sebastian
    PostNord, Sweden.
    Taking shape within the organisational and the personal: sustainability accountability within a Swedish public sector organisationManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
  • 34.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Yates, David
    Sheffield University, Sheffield, UK.
    Nylander, Sebastian
    PostNord, Sweden.
    Taking Shape Within the Organisational and the Personal: sustainability accountability within a Swedish Public Sector Organisation2022Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 35.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business. Department of Business Administration.
    Yates, David
    The University of Sheffield Management School, Sheffield, UK.
    Nylander, Sebastian
    Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden.
    Taking shape within the structural and the personal: sustainability accountability within a Swedish public sector organisation2023In: Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, ISSN 2040-8021, E-ISSN 2040-803X, Vol. 14, no 7, p. 287-312Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: This paper aims to better understand how accountability for sustainability takes shape within organisations and specifically, what makes employees act in a Swedish local authority. This aim moves beyond the prevalent external face of accountability in social and environmental accounting research by observing how employees understand and act upon their multiple accountability demands.

    Design/methodology/approach: This paper adopts a single case study approach within a Swedish local authority, drawing from qualitative data including semi-structured interviews, site visits and governing documents.

    Findings: Sustainable action is not only the product of hierarchically enforced structural accountabilities and procedures but often must be reconciled with the personal perspectives of the public sector employees involved as part of an accountability dynamic. Additionally, the findings reveal that hierarchical accountability, rather than serving to individualise and isolate employees, acts as a prompt for the more practical and personal reconciliations of accountability with the ethics and experiences of the individual involved.

    Practical implications: Greater consideration to employee socialisation processes in public sector organisations should be given to reinforce organisational governance systems and controls, and thus help ensure sustainable behaviour in practice.

    Social implications: Employee socialisation processes are important for the development of sustainable practices both within and beyond organisational boundaries.

    Originality/value: This study considers the interrelatedness of hierarchical and socialising accountability measures and contributes towards the understanding of the relationship between these two accountability forms, contrary to previous understandings that emphasise their contrasting nature and incompatibility.

    Download full text (pdf)
    Taking shape within the structural and the personal: sustainability accountability within a Swedish public sector organisation
  • 36.
    Leite, Emilene
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Regaining legitimacy in an MNC after a socio-ecological crisis: An un(smart) business strategy?2023In: Sustainable International Business: Smart strategies for business and society / [ed] Pratik Arte; Yi Wang; Cheryl Dowie; Maria Elo; Salla Laasonen, Springer, 2023, p. 275-302Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) are recognised as important and powerful strategic agents for providing momentum to the United Nation’s (UN’s) Agenda 2030 through their ability to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) internationally. However, we can also learn from the mistakes of MNEs that cause socio-ecological destruction in their host countries. This chapter develops an understanding of the effects of corporate social responsibility (CSR) legitimisation strategies adopted by an MNE after a crisis event, namely Vale’s Córrego do Feijão mine collapse complex in Brazil, which claimed the lives of over 270 people and caused huge socio-ecological damage. The chapter contributes to growing research on CSR and MNEs by elaborating on the importance of local CSR legitimisation strategies for MNEs to regain legitimacy in the immediate aftermath of crisis events in the affected communities. This requires MNEs moving beyond communicating CSR as empty rhetoric from a more pragmatic legitimacy stance, which serves a global legitimisation function, towards MNEs acting upon their CSR promises in local contexts for legitimacy to be regained. Additionally, the chapter suggests the potential for local crisis events to shape global CSR strategies in industries that positively contribute to the SDGs through the learnings made.  

  • 37.
    Leite, Emilene
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Regaining reputation in an MNC after a socio-ecological crisis: An un(smart) business strategy?2023Conference paper (Refereed)
    Download full text (pdf)
    Certificate
  • 38.
    Nylander, Sebastian
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden.
    Johnstone, Leanne
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Individual accountability through sustainability control within a Swedish public sector organisation2020Conference paper (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
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